Thursday, June 10, 2010

Association Testifies on Sikes Act Amendment

The Association testified on May 25 in support of an amendment to the Sikes Act, which would clarify its application to Army National Guard (ANG) bases. Where title to the land is held by the state and not the federal government, these ANG bases—if they have significant natural resources subject to the requirements of an Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan jointly concluded by the DoD installation, the state fish and wildlife agency, and the USFWS—would be eligible for funding under the Sikes Act.

State fish and wildlife agencies have long enjoyed a good relationship with military installations, and the Sikes Act Improvement Act of 1997 directed the preparation, development and implementation of INRMPs, and with respect to the fish and wildlife conservation provisions, requires that they be mutually agreed to by the DoD installation, state fish and wildlife agency and USFWS.

“We can all be proud of the conservation benefits achieved from this often unknown and unheralded success story of public lands management on approximately 30 million acres,” observed Gary Taylor, AFWA's Legislative Director, in the Association's testimony. “Our successes have certainly substantiated that not only is achievement of the military preparedness mission and sound stewardship of the land and its fish and wildlife resources not mutually exclusive, they are indeed mutually necessary and beneficial.”